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Dustin Hoffman
RE: Mr. Renato Canova: Could You Please Answer a Question About Effective Ways to Improve the Lactate Threshold?
Ingrid Kristiansen seems take a different point of view from you entirely - from her website:

Even newer literature and references about the distribution of the aerobic and the anaerobic work requirement in running use wrong and misleading values. The reason is that the old test method, the Oxygen Debt method, has very large inaccuracies. Newer research have provided a more accurate method, the Accumulated Oxygen Deficit (AOD). The consequence of this is that the aerobic work content has been underrated up until now.

Energy distribution in %.

Distance method Old. wrong method Difference %
400m 46 +/-4%aerobic 25% aerobic 21-25%
800m 69 +/-4%aerobic 50% aerobic 19-23%
1,500m 83 +/-3%aerobic 65% aerobic 18-21%

Sources: AOD data: "Energy system contribution during 400m to 1,500m running, by Matt R. Spencer, Paul B. Gastin and Warren R. Payne. New studies in Athletics, no. 4/1996.

Oxygen debt data: "Keep on running. The Science of Training and Performance". Eric Newsholme, Tony Leech, Glenda Duester, -1994 -John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

The new data is quite sensational, as it emphasizes the importance of aerobic power not only for long distances, but also for middle distances like 800m and 1,500m. As you can see, the differences between the new and old percentages are large compared to the previous inaccurate data: they are approximately 20%. If you use traditional % calculations on, for example, the 800m, the difference between 69 and 50 is:

(100%/69)*50 = approx 72%, or (100%/50) * 69= approx. 138%. Depending of what number you use as reference, the methods are from 28 to 38% in difference. (i.e. about 30 to 40%)

So the message is very clear to all middle distance runners: Forget about the high risk and painful anaorobic training. As you can see, it has less importance than earlier believed. Go out in the woods and run more, mostly long runs, plus some intervals and fartleks.

From the same source of the AOD data it was also concluded that the anaerobic capacity for a runner is equal to one quantity of energy, and this quantity is the same whether you run 400m, 800m, 1,500m or 10,000m. In the tests it was shown that the anaerobic capacity was the same in all distances, 400m, 800m and 1,500m. (calculated to a oxygen "cost" of 48ml/kg)

Longer distances than 1,500m will be more and more dominated by aerobic energy. The only anaerobic training a long distance runner needs will normally be what you get in the competitions. Our strong advise is to forget all tempo training; it very often causes more damage than gain.

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